SCOAP3 Gold OA "Membership": Unnecessary, Unscalable & Unsustainable

1. High Energy Physics (HEP) already has close to 100% Open Access (OA): Authors have been self-archiving their articles in Arxiv (both before and after peer review) since 1991 (“Green OA”).

2. Hence SCOAP3 is just substituting the payment of consortial “membership” fees for publishing outgoing articles in place of the payment of individual institutional subscription fees for accessing incoming articles in exchange for an OA from its publisher (“Gold OA”) that HEP already had from self-archiving (Green OA).

3. As such, SCOAP3 is just a consortial subscription price agreement, except that it is inherently unstable, because once all journal content is Gold OA, non-members are free-riders, and members can cancel if they feel a budget crunch.

4. Nor does membership scale to other disciplines.

5. High Energy Physics would have done global Open Access a better service if it had put its full weight behind promoting (Green OA) mandates to self-archive by institutions and research funders in all other disciplines.

6. The time to convert to Gold OA is when mandatory Green OA prevails globally across all disciplines and institutions.

7. Institutions can then cancel subscriptions and pay for peer review service alone, per individual paper, out of a portion of their windfall cancelation savings, instead of en bloc, in an unstable (and overpriced) consortial “membership.”